Press Release: IRC aids thousands of Chadian migrants fleeing Libya
N’Djamena, Chad - The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is delivering medical assistance to returning Chadian migrants fleeing months of unrest in Libya.
Over 40, 000 Chadians who had been working in Libya have returned since violence erupted in February this year and the pace is picking up. The journey typically takes three weeks under harsh conditions.
“Most are traveling on top of trucks under the scorching Sahara sun with limited access to water,” says Felix Leger, the IRC’s country director in Chad. “By the time they arrive in Chad, many are dehydrated, suffering from heat stroke, hungry and exhausted.”
Their first stop is the town of Faya, in northern Chad, described as an oasis in the middle of the desert. A transit center has been set up there to shelter women and children and other vulnerable returnees. Ten IRC aid workers have been dispatched to the town, including five medical staff who are providing support at the overburdened hospital.
“The hospital is buckling under the pressure of treating so many sick people,” says Leger. “Many of the arrivals are also traumatized by the violence they witnessed or experienced,” he continues.
Tens of thousands of Chadian migrants lived in eastern and western Libya for years and most maintained menial jobs. When the unrest started, many Chadians and other sub-Saharan workers say they were targeted by rebel supporters and accused of being pro-Ghadafi mercenaries.
“We foresee tens of thousands of migrants passing through Faya and staying days, even weeks, before they are able to make their way back to their communities of origin,” says Leger. “Our priority is to support the hospital staff in Faya with medical expertise. The health situation is currently critical and the hospital cannot cope.”
Sophia Jones - Mwangi (Nairobi)
+254 737 800 028
NOTE TO EDITORS: The Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates that 300,000 Chadians have been working in Libya. Other estimates cite much higher figures.
The IRC has been working in Chad since 2004, when around a quarter of a million refugees fled conflict in neighboring Darfur. Today, the IRC supports 60,000 refugees from Darfur in two camps in eastern Chad, with essential services including healthcare, water and education. The IRC is also working in Bahr El Gazal, western Chad, providing healthcare to children and pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.
For an interview with IRC’s country director in Chad, Felix Leger, contact Regional Media/Information Manager, Sophia Mwangi on +254 737 800 028 or email@example.com.
About the International Rescue Committee: A global leader in humanitarian assistance, the International Rescue Committee works in more than 40 countries offering help and hope to refugees and others uprooted by disaster, conflict and oppression. During crises, IRC teams provide health care, shelter, clean water, sanitation, learning programs for children and special aid for women. As emergencies subside, the IRC stays to revive livelihoods and help shattered communities recover and rebuild. The IRC also helps resettle refugees given sanctuary in the United States. A tireless advocate for the most vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and opportunity.